Richmondshire District Council

Register of electors

The register of electors is a list of everyone in the district who is entitled to vote.

You can only vote in elections if your name is listed on the current register.

The register is also used by many organisations to check your identity. Not being registered at your current address can affect your credit rating, and could prevent you from:

  • Opening a bank account
  • Getting a mobile phone contract
  • Buying a house
  • Receiving a student grant

By law, you must have your name included on the register and you are not automatically registered. You must complete and update a household enquiry form (HEF) each year.

You can register to vote if you're:

  • Normally resident in the Richmondshire area
  • Over 16 (although you can't vote until your 18th birthday)
  • A British or Commonwealth citizen 
  • A citizen of the Irish Republic or of another European member state 

Individual electoral registration

This method of registering to vote was introduced in 2014. Instead of using a household form to register to vote, everyone takes individual responsibility for their own registration.

To apply, you need to provide your National Insurance number and date of birth. This will reduce the risk of fraud and inaccurate electoral register entries.

To register

Visit GOV.UK 

Annual canvass

Each year, usually the end of July/August, Electoral Services send out HEFs to all households in the district, asking them to register all eligible electors and any 16 or 17-year-olds who will become 18 during the life of the next year's register of electors.

Even if you're already registered as a voter at your property, you will still need to respond to the canvass form so that your registration continues for another year.

Don't assume that because you were registered last year your name will automatically be included in the new register.

By law, you must respond to the annual canvass form request. If you don't, or if you give false information, you could face a fine of up to £1,000.

During the annual canvass period, to help lower the cost of producing the register, you can confirm your details online.  You can add names to the register via GOV.UK or return the canvass form. Names can only be deleted by returning the canvass form in the pre-paid envelope.

Rolling registration

Outside the annual canvass period, anyone moving house within the district or moving into the district can add their names to the register via GOV.UK 

Young voters

As soon as you're 18, you can vote. You must make sure you're on the electoral register to have your say on the election of MPs and local councillors.

Living abroad

You can register to vote as an overseas voter for up to 15 years after leaving the UK, as long as:

  • You're a British citizen
  • You were registered to vote in the UK within the previous 15 years or, in some cases, if you were too young to have registered when you left the UK

You can register at GOV.UK 

Service voter registration

You can register to vote as a service voter, or as a spouse of a service voter, at GOV.UK

Registering to vote if you have two homes

The main qualification to vote is residence at an address on the relevant date. This is either 15 October during the annual registration audit, or the date a registration is completed during the rest of the year. You don't have to be physically present at an address on the date of registration to register there.

Unlike council tax, you don't have to choose which is your main residence for electoral purposes.

The courts have decided that a person can be resident at more than one address.

But a person's residence must have "a considerable degree of permanence' For instance, someone who has an address in London where they stay during the week, and an address in the country where they go most weekends, can register at both addresses. On the other hand, if someone has an address which they only visit occasionally during the year, they would probably not be eligible to register there.

Each individual case is different. You can speak to the electoral team for more guidance.

Convenience or "care of" address

There are cases where people register at, say, their parental home, although they don't live there, because they move address quite frequently. This is wrong, people should register where they actually live. You can speak to the electoral team for more guidance.


Students can register at both their home and term-time addresses, but it's illegal to vote more than once at the same election.

The electoral register and the open register

Registration officers keep two registers: The electoral register and the open register, also known as the edited register.

The electoral register

This lists the names and addresses of everyone who is registered to vote in public elections. The register is used for electoral purposes, such as making sure only eligible people can vote. It's also used for other limited purposes specified in law, such as:

  • Detecting crime (such as fraud)
  • Calling people for jury service
  • Checking credit applications

You can inspect the register under supervision and by appointment at our Mercury House offices.

The open register

This is an extract of the electoral register, but isn't used for elections. It can be bought by any person, company or organisation. For example, it's used by businesses and charities to confirm name and address details. Your name and address will be included in the open register unless you ask for them to be removed.

Removing your details from the open register doesn't affect your right to vote.

A copy of the open register is available for inspection at the community offices, in Colburn, Hawes, Leyburn and Reeth and in reception at Mercury House.

Your personal information

We'll only use the information you give us for electoral purposes and we look after it securely. We won't give personal information about you and the other people in your household to anyone else or another organisation unless we have to by law.

The choice you have to make

If you do put an “X” in the opt-out box on the voter registration form, your name and address will only appear on the electoral register.

If you do not put an “X” in the box, your name will also appear on the open version of the register, which anyone can buy. This means anyone can use your details for any purpose.


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